CITY IN CRISIS: What's the matter with Baltimore?

As the search continues for the officer's killer, a lot of people familiar with Maryland's largest city are asking: "What's wrong with Baltimore"?

BALTIMORE, MD. (WUSA9) - While much of the U.S. is enjoying crime rates near their lowest in 50 years, Baltimore appears to be in a crime-fueled tailspin that is threatening an impressive renaissance that is underway.

The number of murders, including the Wednesday shooting of a Baltimore Police homicide detective, is on pace to rival the worst years of the mid-1990s before a dramatic reversal in the first decade of the millennium. The city has logged 309 so far in 2017.

The killings have included the murder of off-duty Washington DC Metropolitan police sergeant Tony Anthony Mason Jr. who lived in Baltimore until his death November 4. 

RELATED: Baltimore detective dies after shot in head, search for suspect continues

Meanwhile, police are struggling to end a new trend of senseless, random attacks by predatory groups of roving juveniles that have badly shaken some of the city's gentrified neighborhoods that enjoyed relative peace until 2017.

One woman was beaten by a mob welding boards on Halloween evening. The motive appeared to be merely the thrill of the attack. A family of ten visiting from New Jersey was attacked by teens while touring the city's Inner Harbor area.

Crime is up in nearly all categories. Baltimore's police commissioner Kevin Davis is calling for tougher treatment of violent offenders by the juvenile court system.

It's a dramatic reversal of progress made in the early 2000s. Baltimore's crime rate plummeted 43% between 2000 and 2010.

However, a US Dept. of Justice investigation in the aftermath of 2015 rioting after the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody revealed the actions of Baltimore police were routinely abusive and unconstitutional. The unraveling accelerated.

A federal judge is now overseeing reform. City leaders deny rank and file police officers have backed off under the pressure letting crime spiral out of control.

The crime situation is threatening a remarkable new renaissance reshaping Baltimore with accelerating real estate values and major development investments being announced.

Under Armour founder, Kevin Plank and investment partners are behind much of the new wave of rebirth.

Plank's Sagamore Development Company opened the luxury boutique Pendry Hotel in 2017, on the Fells Point waterfront.

Sagamore is planning a $5.5 billion redevelopment of the Port Covington waterfront in south Baltimore and just secured a 233 million dollar investment from Goldman Sachs in October.

Meanwhile, millennial commuters from DC are flocking to trendy neighborhoods like Fells Point and Federal Hill, drawn by relatively affordable real estate prices, nearby waterfront and shops and restaurants that range from funky to chic.

The number of DC commuters living in Baltimore has doubled since 2014.

But the victim of one juvenile attack told Baltimore CBS affiliate WJZ; she is now considering moving out.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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